Category Archives: 2010/01

Double Life of Private Strong, the Last Issue

Double Life of Private Strong #2
Double Life of Private Strong #2 (August 1959) “The Toy Master” page 5, art by unidentified artist

While the first issue of Double Life of Private Strong was almost completely drawn by Jack Kirby, he played a much smaller part in the second. I am not sure who drew the first story, “The Toy Master”, but he obviously was working from some sort of directions. In “The Comic Book Makers, Joe Simon writes about using Carl Burgos to create layouts. In fact Joe’s collection still includes layouts for a Fly story (Carl Burgos does the Fly). By supplying the artists with layouts, Joe was able to give the comic a distinct Kirby feel. Scattered through the art are swipes; most of them from the previous Simon and Kirby superhero, Fighting American. For instance the Shield in panel 4 of page 5 was based on a splash from Fighting American #1. Some experts have claimed that these are either stats or mechanical copies but I have disproved that by overlaying the art (The Fly, A Case Study of Swiping). Apparently all that was done was a free hand copy was created for the layout and the artist would finish it. This would provide the desired Kirby-feel to the story without making the swipe too incongruous with the rest of the art. There are other examples were the copy deviated even more from the original. I believe, for instance, that the Shield in panel 3 was swiped by the one Kirby did for the splash of “The Menace of the Micro-Men” from Private Strong #1.

Double Life of Private Strong #2
Double Life of Private Strong #2 (August 1959) “Upsy Daisy”, art by George Tuska?

I going out on a limb because I am not familiar enough with his work, but I believe “Upsy Daisy” might be the work of George Tuska. Joe Simon has written in “The Comic Book Maker” that Tuska worked on the Archie comics for him so it is not an unreasonable guess. Perhaps I missed them, but I do not spot any obvious swipes from Kirby in this story.

Double Life of Private Strong #2
Double Life of Private Strong #2 (August 1959) “I Wish I Were the Shield”, art by George Tuska?
Larger Image

The two tier panel layout is pretty much identical to the one used for the double page splashes found in Adventures of the Fly #1 and #2. However there is no mention of “the wide angle scream” nor are the curved black bands of the top and bottom of the splash (The Wide Angle Scream, What Was Old Is New Again). Again my attribution of this story to George Tuska is by no means firm.

Here there are some examples of swiping from Kirby. For instance the Shield in the splash was based on the cover logo that first appeared on Fighting American #4 (October 1954). The presences of these swipes and the overall superiority of the story art over that for “Upsy Daisy” suggests that this story was done from layouts.

Double Life of Private Strong #2
Double Life of Private Strong #2 (August 1959) “The Ultra-Sonic Spies”, art by Jack Kirby

The use of swipes was clearly an attempt to improve the look of the art not actually drawn by Kirby. But of course it was only partially successful since after all nothing beats the real thing. The single story by Kirby in this issue, “The Ultra-Sonic Spies”, just out shines all the rest of the comic. What a mixture of action and humor. Since the Shield’s alter ego, Lancelot Strong, was a private in the U.S. army, Jack was able to return to and improve upon the humor that was done years previously in Captain America. While Simon and Kirby had always preferred less powerful and more human heroes, Kirby makes exciting use the Shield’s greater power. I would say Jack was much more at ease with the Shield than he was with the Fly. What Kirby did in Private Strong prefigures more than any of his other work what was to blossom in the Marvel superhero line in a few years.

Double Life of Private Strong #2
Double Life of Private Strong #2 (August 1959) “The General’s Favorite Private”, art by Joe Simon

There is a single page text piece about the Shield which tells how Lancelot Strong’s secret identity is discovered by General Smith. The story is nothing special but it contains an illustration by Joe Simon. Since the work that he did for the J. C. Penny (1947, A History Lesson) Joe drew very little comic book art. Probably the most significant work was “Deadly Doolittle” for Fighting American #6 and even that was a reworking of an earlier Sandman piece originally drawn by Kirby. After the Simon and Kirby studio broke up Joe did some more work on his own. Simon mostly did some covers but he also occasionally did an interior illustration such as the one accompanying the General Smith text story.

Double Life of Private Strong #2
Double Life of Private Strong #2 (August 1959) “The Boy Sentinels” page 2, art by Joe Simon

For the most part one thing Joe Simon did not draw late in his career was full stories. Private Strong #2 included what is essentially an advertisement for the Fly, “The Boy Sentinels”. Should this two page piece be considered a story? What is interesting to me is that Joe makes little, if any, use of swipes from Kirby. Instead Simon drawing reflects back to the work he did for backup pieces for Stuntman and Boy Explorers, especially Vagabond Prince. The villain in the piece resembles that from “Trapped on Wax” (meant for the unpublished Boy Explorers #2), the close-up of the Fly hitting the villain seems taken from “The Madness of Doctor Altu (Black Cat #8, October 1947), and the young boys look like the one from “Death Trap De Luxe” (Black Cat #7, August 1947).

In “The Comic Book Makers” Joe writes:

Years later, I learned why John Goldwater had dropped his beloved Shield like a hot potato. DC Comic’s lawyers had sent him a cease-and-desist order which put forth the amusing claim that The Shield’s powers aped Superman’s too closely.

On the face of it this seems rather remarkable. After all the only important powers that the Shield and Superman seems to be the ability to fly and run at super fast speeds. The Fly can also, well fly, but there seems to have been no problem with that similarity. While not denying the question about some shared powers between the Shield and Superman, I would suggest there were other features that made the Shield more vulnerable to legal action than the Fly. While the Shield’s uniform was modeled on that Simon and Kirby created for Captain America, it unfortunately shared a color scheme with Superman; the same overall blue with red shorts and boots. Also regrettably the Shield’s origin story shared features with Superman’s; orphaned as a baby and raised by an elderly farming couple. All these factors probably contributed to Goldwater’s cold feet when presented with a legal challenge. After all the Shield had not yet shown whether it was a large enough money maker to warrant fighting a legal battle.

Double Life of Private Strong, the First Issue

For me it is still an open question exactly when the Simon and Kirby studio dissolved but it certainly had by the end of 1956 because Jack had begun doing freelance work for DC and Atlas. That did not mean the end of Simon and Kirby collaborations as Jack did most of the art for Race for the Moon issues #2 and #3 (September and November, 1958). Even though Joe and Jack were clearly not working in the same studio, I consider these issues of Race for the Moon to be the same sort of collaboration that had been done in the past. Certainly the results looked very much the same. However Race for the Moon was not very successful; actually none of the work Simon and Kirby did for Harvey Comics ever were.

In the early days of the silver age of comics DC had shown that once again there was money to be made in superheroes. John Goldwater, president and part owner of Archie Comics, thought it might be a good idea for his company to try superheroes again. Actually Archie Comics had started with superheroes only at that time the publisher called itself MLJ. Their flagship comic, Pep, featured the Shield, the first patriotic superhero. Simon and Kirby had even produced a cover for Shield Wizard #7 and (perhaps inadvertently) redesigned the Shield’s costume.

Goldwater approached Simon to create two new titles and Joe came up with up with the Fly and the Shield. Although they shared the same name, Joe’s Shield was to be a very different character. After receiving Goldwater’s approval, Joe approached Kirby to provide some initial art work. Now this work can properly be called collaborations but the collaboration was nothing like what had occurred before and the results looked very different. While I am sure that Kirby had made significant creative contributions to the stories he worked on he was doing so with directions from Joe. In the past the inking of Jack’s pencils either involved Jack himself or was done by others in similar style. But for the new Archie titles Jack supplied only the pencils and all the inking was done in a more modern silver age style. Also Joe lined up other artists to work on the titles so it is clear Kirby was only meant to work on the initial issues.

Double Life of Private Strong #1
Double Life of Private Strong #1 (June 1959) “The Double Life of Private Strong”, pencils by Jack Kirby

The new Shield appeared in a comic with the awkward title “The Double Life of Private Strong” with Jack Kirby providing all the story art. Besides great strength, the new Shield could fly, throw lightning bolts, run rapidly and see in the dark; perhaps there are some other powers that I have forgotten. In some respects the origin story is a variation on the Superman origin. The main difference is that the new Shield was not an alien but acquired his powers as a result of being the subject of his father’s experimentation. However he ended up an orphan found and adopted by a farming couple. Basing the Shield’s origin on that of Superman’s may have had negative consequences.

PS1SpawnXWorld
Double Life of Private Strong #1 (June 1959) “Spawn of the ‘X’ World”, pencils by Jack Kirby

The stories in issue #1 are actually chapters in one long origin story. The first story dealt with Lancelot’s youth in the next, “Spawn of the X’ World” we see his discovery and first use of his powers. At the beginning of the story Lancelot is accompanied by a friend, Spud, but at the end of the story we find that while Lancelot was off saving the world Spud was in critical condition having been caught in a fire. Some comic experts have tried to equate this with the death of Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man origin story. However it just does not wash. Uncle Ben’s death was the result of Spider-Man’s unwillingness to intercede in a crime while Lancelot was very much fulfilling the role of a hero when he left Spud. Further it is not clear that Spud would in fact die as the policeman says that they will try to save him. And if that was not enough, Lancelot does not seem that remorseful (“if only the Shield had known”) and was more concerned about learning about his powers.

Double Life of Private Strong #1
Double Life of Private Strong #1 (June 1959) “Mystery of the Vanished Wreckage”, pencils by Jack Kirby

The next “chapter” begins with Lancelot and a friend. Is the companion Spud? It is not clear but the person had been told of Lancelot’s deeds except he just does not believe it. At the end of “Mystery of the Vanished Wreckage”, Lancelot has received a draft notice.

Double Life of Private Strong #1
Double Life of Private Strong #1 (June 1959) “The Menace of the Micro-Men”, pencils by Jack Kirby

The final story of the issue takes place when Lancelot has just entered the army. It involves a villain who is able to shrink men, a theme that Kirby has used before (Yellow Claw #3, February 1957, “The Microscopic Army”).

The origin stories that Simon and Kirby produced had evolved as their career progressed. For Captain America the origin story seems little more the something to get past as quickly as possible. Greater attention was paid for the origin stories of the Newsboy Legion, Manhunter and the Boy Explorers but they still occupied a single 10 to 13 page story. For Boys’ Ranch Kirby drew an impressive 17 page story. For Fighting American the origin was broken into two stories; the first detailing how the hero came to be Fighting American and the second how he acquired his sidekick, Speedboy. With Private Strong and the Fly the origin story would be spread out over several stories in the first issue. As far as I know this early use of continuity, limited though it was, cannot be found in any other comics before the Marvel age. Unfortunately neither Kirby nor Simon seem to realize what they had stumbled upon and once the origin story was over, so was any real continuity.

Double Life of Private Strong #1
Double Life of Private Strong #1 (June 1959) “The Hide-Out”, art by Jack Kirby

The first issue also had a single page feature, “Tommy Troy Teaches Judo”. The first Fly comic had not been released yet so at the bottom of the page announces “see more of Tommy Troy in Adventures of the Fly”. I do not know who the artist was. Nor can I identify the artists who provided illustrations for the required text piece except to say it was not by either Simon or Kirby. “The Hide-Out” was a two page promo for the Fly also drawn by Kirby. Despite its short length (15 panels) it is really a nice piece. Kirby always seemed to give his work his best effort no matter the length.

I’ll write about the second issue next week.

Art of Romance, Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists

(August 1954 – November 1954: Young Romance #72 – #74, Young Love #60 – #62, Young Brides #18 & #19, In Love #1 & #2)

Number of Romance Titles 1947 - 1958
Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1958 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

As can be seen in the above chart romance comics had entered into a decline during this period. Did Joe Simon and Jack Kirby notice this? Had they been observant they might have for as will be shown they benefited from the failure of other titles. But then again there were always fluctuations in the number of titles and publishers so perhaps Joe and Jack were not aware that things had become very different. Or perhaps they were too caught up in their own business to notice the bigger picture. August 1954 (cover date) marked the release of Bullseye the first title for Mainline, Simon and Kirby’s own publishing company. In Love, the romance title for Mainline, would be released in September. Starting their own publishing company was a big step for Simon and Kirby but unfortunately their timing was particularly bad.

In chapter 27 I noted the appearance of some new artists in the Simon and Kirby productions (unfortunately as of yet unidentified). The art covered in the last chapter was created by 8 artists which in itself was an increase over the earlier period. I have identified 12 artists for the period covered by this chapter and that does not include unidentified artists. There are more pages of unattributed art than those by any identified artist. Frankly I have not sorted them all out but I believe that there are at least 5 or 6 artists that I cannot identify. A couple of these additions to the studio had appeared previously in Simon and Kirby productions and almost all would only provide a few pieces before disappearing from the studio. Oddly one artist, Bob McCarty, who played an important part in the two previous chapters, is completely missing in this one. However McCarty will be returning in future chapters.

The artist line-up based on their productivity was Bill Draut (42 pages), John Prentice (41 pages), Jack Kirby (25 pages), Mort Meskin (20 pages), Art Gates (19 pages) with Leonard Starr and Jo Albistur tied (12 pages). The rest of the artists provide a single story or a small number of single page features. There are 65 pages by unidentified artists but as I wrote above these were distributed among 5 or more artists.

With one exception the covers for the Prize romance titles were done by Draut and Prentice. As seen previously, some of the covers were made from stats of a splash panel (or visa versa). The one exception is the cover of Young Brides #19 (November 1954) which I have tentatively attributed to Joe Simon. This assignment is not based on art style but rather on evidence from Joe Simon’s art collection. I hope that someday I will be able to write about this cover.

In Love #1
In Love #1 (September 1954) “Bride of the Star” Chapter 1 “The First Pang of Love”, art by Jack Kirby

As I promised last chapter, Jack Kirby returns to romance comics after a short absence. However he appears only in Mainline’s In Love and not in any of the Prize romance titles. Kirby’s absence from Prize romances will continue for some time. In Love was an interesting title whose “hook” was the long story contained in each issue. Kirby did all 20 pages of the art for the “Bride of the Star” from In Love #1. I will not write much about this story here because I covered it in a previous post on In Love #1.

Besides the length of the story, one of the things that distinguish In Love from the Prize romance titles is that Jack returns to full page splashes for all the three chapters. Frankly I already illustrated the best splash in my previous post but I felt I must include one of the other ones here. To be honest it is not one of Kirby’s best pieces but I feel that the splash for the other chapter to be even more inferior. But all of the story art is actually quite good.

Kirby on contributed a small part to the featured story “Marilyn’s Men” from In Love #2 (November 1954) with most of the work being done by Bill Draut. Since the post whose link I provided covers this story I will forego further comments here.

The cover for In Love #1 was one of the rare collaborations between Jack Kirby and an artist other the Joe Simon, in this case John Prentice (Jerry Robinson at the Jack Kirby Tribute Panel). Not only was the cover drawn by different artists but inked by different hands as well. Prentice’s back was clearly inked by himself and I suspect, though I am by no means certain, that Jack inked his own pencils as well.

Young Romance #74
Young Romance #74 (November 1954) “The Kissoff”, art by Bill Draut

Bill Draut was the most prolific artist during this period but not by much. His recent decreased presence in S&K productions is a bit hard to understand. I once surmised that it might be due because of the work he was doing in preparation for the launch of Mainline. But on reflection there just does not seem enough work by Draut in those early issues of the Mainline comics to impact his normal work load. So I now suppose that his recent decreased contribution was due to some personal reason. Draut is one of the more consistent artists to work for Simon and Kirby but his style did not change much over the years. This makes it difficult to have new things to say about him. The same link I provided above for my post on In Love #2 goes into more detail about Draut’s work on “Marilyn’s Men”. I also did a post (Swiping Off of Kirby) about the use Bill made of art from an earlier story by Kirby.

Young Romance #73
Young Romance #73 (September 1954) “Girl from the Old Country”, art by John Prentice

John Prentice was just behind Draut in productivity. This is one of the examples where a stat of the splash for this story was used to create the cover. Note that while story splashes were no longer being used in the Prize romance titles, Prentice is still providing a smaller than typical splash panel.

Young Love #60
Young Love #60 (August 1954) “Outcast”, art by Mort Meskin

There was an unexpected surge in productivity by Meskin in the last chapter and now there is a just as sudden drop in his output. I must admit that I am a little perplexed about what is going on with Mort. He was working for other publishers and that suggests that he was no longer working in the actual Simon and Kirby studio. But how does one explain the ups and downs since then? I have heard of discussion somewhere on the web where it has been suggested that when Meskin left the S&K studio to work in his own studio that Mort was once again plagued with difficulties in starting work on a blank page. I have no way of saying whether this is true but perhaps it would explain his varied, but often unusually low, output in Simon and Kirby productions. Even if Meskin’s productivity was poor during this period he still did some very nice work. “Outcast” is a good example of a real nice piece by Meskin (I believe he inked it as well). I previously posted on a Mort’s “After the Honey-Moon” from In Love #1 which while very short is one of his masterpieces.

Young Brides #18
Young Brides #18 (September 1954) “My Cheating Heart”, art by Mort Meskin

“My Cheating Heart” is another great piece by Mort Meskin. I particularly like the inking in this piece. The solid blacks are used very effectively. I am pretty sure this is not Meskin’s own inking or that of George Roussos either but I cannot suggest who the inker was.

Young Romance #74
Young Romance #74 (November 1954) “A Holiday for Love”, art by Art Gates

Art Gates continue to supply numerous single page features but he is also did a few 3 page stories. At 6 pages, “A Holiday for Love” is the longest work Gates has yet done for Simon and Kirby. I cannot say that Art is one of my favorite Simon and Kirby artists but I admire the way he can do pieces like this a more cartoon-like gag features as well.

Young Love #61
Young Love #61 (September 1954) “Miss Moneybags”, art by Leonard Starr

Leonard Starr was not a new artist for Simon and Kirby productions but a returning one. He played an important part in the Prize romance titles for a little under two years ending in February 1951. His style has not changed that much during his absence and even without a signature “Miss Moneybags” (Young Love #61, September 1954) and “Cinderella’s Sisters” (Young Love #62, November 1954) were clearly done by Starr. However Leonard style had evolved somewhat so it is just as clear that this is not left over material. Although Starr was no longer using page formats that provided a series of tall and narrow panels he still had a predilection for such panels and was using alternative ways to introduce them. While it is possible that the reviews I perform for future chapters of this serial post may uncover one or two other stories by Starr, I am pretty confident that there will not be more than that. Leonard Starr would be like a number of artists from this chapter in that he made a brief appearance and then disappeared from Simon and Kirby productions. In Starr’s case he would be starting his own syndication strip, “Mary Perkins on Stage”, in a year or so.

Young Love #61
Young Love #61 (September 1954) “Mother Never Told Me”, art by George Roussos?

I am by no means certain, but “Mother Never Told Me” looks like it might have been done by George Roussos. The resemblance is mostly in the men with the woman reminding a little bit like the work of Marvin Stein. But overall I believe the Roussos seems the best fit. George last appeared in a Simon and Kirby production in Black Magic #24 (May 1953). If this attribution is correct, Roussos like Starr will not appear in a future Simon and Kirby productions.

Young Romance #73
Young Romance #73 (September 1954) “Afraid of Marriage”, art by Jo Albistur

Although unsigned, “Afraid of Marriage” and “Just For Kicks” (Young Love #61, September 1954) are both clearly the work of Joaquin Albistur (he also appeared in Police Trap #1 in this same month). I had previously used Joe as the first name for this artist but it is now clear that he was an artist from Argentine (Joaquin Albistur the Same As Joe Albistur?). Joe Simon does not remember Albistur by name, but he does recollect someone from South America doing work for Simon and Kirby. Most people assume Simon was thinking of Bruno Premiani, but I believe it is even more likely that it was Albistur that Joe was recalling.

Unlike most of the new artists in this chapter, Albistur will play an important part in Simon and Kirby productions in the coming year. Jo is not well known among fans and I am not sure how much comic book work he did outside of Simon and Kirby productions. I have seen some original art from “The World Around Us” from 1961 that has been attributed to Albistur. I am not convinced but if it was his work Albistur had adopted a particularly unpleasing dry style. Despite Jo’s short time working for Simon and Kirby he is one of my favorite studio artists. His woman have an earthy beauty that I like, he had an eye for gestures, used interesting compositions and was skillful at graphically telling a story.

Young Love #62
Young Love #62 (November 1954) “Too Darned Innocent”, art by W. G. Hargis

There is one signed piece by W. G. Hargis, “Too Darned Innocent”. However given the number of unidentified artists appearing in Simon and Kirby productions there is the distinct possibility that other unsigned worked may have been done by Hargis during this period as well. In fact I have heard of suggestions that Hargis may have been responsible for a story in Police Trap.

In Love #2
In Love #2 (November 1954) “Mother by Proxy”, art by Tom Scheuer

Tom Scheuer is another artist that only did one signed work for Simon and Kirby. Scheuer (who much later changed his name to Sawyer) is perhaps better known for his advertisement comic work (see For Boys Only from Those Fabulous Fifties and Comic Strip Ad Artist Tom Scheuer from Today’s Inspirations; both great blogs).

Joe Simon’s collection includes the original art for a page from this story. On the back is the name Art Sehrby, a telephone number and a street address. This raises the possibility that Simon and Kirby obtained Scheuer’s piece, and perhaps those of some other artists, from an agent.

Young Brides #19
Young Brides #19 (November 1954) “Love for Sale”, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Martin Thall

There is a story behind “Love for Sale” that has been discussed on the Kirby list but I do not believe I have written about in my blog. Mike Esposito and Ross Andru launched their own publishing company Mikeross with their earliest comic having a cover date of December 1953 (3-D Love). This then was well in advance of Simon and Kirby’s Mainline Comics whose first issue (Bullseye) came out in August.

Mikeross only published four titles (3-D Love, 3-D Romance, Get Lost and Heart and Soul. The 3-D romance titles were single issues and I suspect that their timing was a little off. The initial 3D comics sold very well but were apparently a novelty item. My understanding is that Simon and Kirby’s Captain 3-D which came out in December 1953 was already a bit late and sales were not that great. Since the Mikeross 3D romance titles have cover dates of December and January, I suspect they suffered from lower sales as well. Get Lost went to issue #3 while Heart and Soul only lasted to issue #2. Usually when a title is cancelled after just 2 or 3 issues it is a sign that something other than poor sales was involved. I suspect that the returns from their first comic, 3-D Love were so poor that the distributor pulled the plug on the whole deal.

I do not have the biography of Mike Esposito that came out a few years ago but I did have the chance to flip through it to see what he had to say about what happened next. If I remember correctly Esposito claimed that the distributor forced them to hand over their unpublished artwork to Simon and Kirby. Frankly this is a pretty suspicious claim because a distributor does not have any legal claim to the artwork. Further in my discussions with Joe Simon he has vigorously denied that it happened. Martin Thall gave an interview published in Alter Ego #52 where he stated that in order to recover some money they sold some art to Simon and Kirby and that Kirby was the one who arranged and received it. This makes a lot more sense and is the version that I accept.

The last issue of Heart and Soul was cover dated June so the next one would be expected for August. “Love for Sale” was used in Young Brides #19 (November). The timing is so perfect that there is little doubt that this story was among the art sold to Simon and Kirby. What makes that even more convincing is that the lettering was not done by Ben Oda like almost all of Simon and Kirby’s productions.

This is not Ross Andru’s first appearance in Simon and Kirby productions as a story by him appeared in May 1952 (Chapter 16) and two in May and June of 1953 (Chapter 19). Another Andru story will be seen in the next chapter which also was probably bought from the defunct Mikeross publishing company.

Young Brides #19
Young Brides #19 (November 1954) “Telephone Romeo”, art by unidentified artist

Since one story from Mikeross has been identified the question becomes can any others be found? Such art need not have been used right away but it is interesting that Young Brides #19 contains another story, “Telephone Romeo” that was not lettered by Ben Oda. However the letterer is not the same one that did “Love for Sale”. I have only examined the 3-D Love, 3-D Romance and Heart and Soul #1 but none of them used this artist. Actually I find Andru’s hand through most of them and I suspect Ross and Mike did all the art themselves. So it cannot be said with any certainty that “Telephone Romeo” was another piece sold by Mikeross but it can be confidently said that is was bought from some distressed publisher or artist stuck with unused art.

Young Love #62
Young Love #62 (November 1954) “My Scheming Sister”, art by unidentified artist

There is yet another piece, “My Scheming Sister”, with lettering clearly not done by Ben Oda. Look at the caption to the first story panel, Simon and Kirby productions did not typically use lower case letters in their captions. Once again this was a piece bought by Simon and Kirby but not necessarily from Mikeross. Whoever the artist was he was one of the better of the unknowns from this period. A smooth confident line and great characterization.

Young Romance #72
Young Romance #72 (August 1954) “Reform School Babe”, art by unidentified artist

Not all the unidentified artists were new; the one that did “Reform School Babe” had been an important contributor to Simon and Kirby productions for some months. I believe one of my commenters suggested Vince Colletta, at least for the inking, but I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about that artist/inker to hazard a guess.

Young Romance #74
Young Romance #74 (November 1954) “Idol Worship”, art by unidentified artist

I will not be supplying examples of all the unidentified artists from these romance titles as I have not sorted them all out and anyway some are not that great. But I did want to provide an image from “Idol Worship” by one of the better artists working at this time for Simon and Kirby.

In summary, Simon and Kirby were using a number of new artists. Some like Jo Albistur would play important contribution to S&K productions; others like Tom Scheuer would make a brief appearance and not be seen again. Some may have been hired from the street but there is also the suggestion that some work may have come from an art agent. Further there is good evidence that some of the work came from the failed Mikeross publishing and perhaps other publishers as well. I have not yet done a review of Ben Oda’s lettering like I have those by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and Howard Ferguson. I suspect a careful comparison of Ben Oda’s lettering with that used in the stories from this period will reveal others that came from romance titles that were failed. Simon and Kirby’s use of such material is not surprising because they had previously obtained art from Harvey after the love glut (Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out).

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)

Joe Simon and thee Newsboy Legion Archives

Star Spangled #7

Amazon.com shows that Volume 1 of the Newsboy Legion will be released on March 9, 2010. If past experience is any guide, the book may actually appear in comic stores a week or two before that. This volume covers the Newsboy Legion and the Guardian stories that appeared in Star Spangled Comics #7 to #32 (April 1942 to May 1944). This is the entire Simon and Kirby story run created before the artists went into military service. That would leave Volume 2 to stories drawn largely by Gil Kane and perhaps another artist. While that might sound attractive to many potential readers of Volume 2 I expect most will be disappointed because at that time Kane was nowhere near the talented artist he would become. However there will also be some stories in Volume 2 by Simon and Kirby from when they returned to civilian life and a lot of their covers.

One of the things that I could not understand about the Marvel golden age reprints is why that company never got Joe Simon to provide any of the introductions? Well DC caught on to that idea and Joe has written the intro for the first Newsboy Legion volume. Joe tells me that it will include some previously unrevealed facts about the Newsboy Legion. I have not read it so I do not know what that might be. I have read many other unpublished essays by Joe and I am confident that this introduction will be a good read because he is such a great writer.

I am sure I will have something to say about the book when it comes out but I will not be writing a review. It turns out that I also have played a part in this book although admittedly a small one. I do not know if the restorations of the Newsboy Legion stories will be done in the same approach as the Simon and Kirby Sandman Archive but I do have a comment to those who have criticized the work done for that volume. Some have said that not enough effort was done on restoring the scans. Worse yet some have tried to align the work that I did on the Best of Simon and Kirby with Marvel’s approach as examples of how DC should be doing their archives. Well all I can say is that greatly disagree with that assessment. There maybe a superficial resemblance to my work in BoSK to Marvel’s archives but superficial is all it is. Marvel’s reprints are essentially recreations and on close examination show inaccuracies. While my restorations for BoSK may look different from the S&K Sandman Archive in fact both are based on scans with no line art recreation. When it comes to reprints I want to see the original artists’ work not some reinterpretation by a modern artist. That is much, much more important than whether printing defects such as registration problems are corrected.

Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10, A Special Visitor

(November 1953 – March 1954, Black Magic #27 – #29)

In the previous chapter Black Magic went on a bimonthly schedule (with issue #25, July 1953). The three issues I am covering in this chapter fall onto the same period as chapters 25 and 26 of The Art of Romance (but not chapter 27). Just like what was seen in the romance titles, Black Magic story format switched to using either splash-less stories or splashes that were actually part of the story.

Jack Kirby is the most prolific artist during this period; providing a total of 24 pages (including the covers). The second place is taken by a new comer, Steve Ditko (17 pages). The third place was taken by Bob McCarty (15 pages) with Al Eadeh and Bill Benulis (each doing a single 5 pages story). There are also some single page and one double page feature done by an unidentified artist, probably a studio assistant.

Ditko’s appearance in the Simon and Kirby studio was particularly timely because he was on hand to help with the inking of Captain 3D (December 1953). But Steve’s presence in Simon and Kirby productions was short lived as these three issues are the only ones from this run that he worked on. Most of the artists employed by Simon and Kirby were given assignments in all the genre but Ditko was one of the exceptions as he did not do any of the much more abundant romance work. I do not know who made the decision to limit Ditko to the Black Magic title but it was probably a good one. Frankly the only romance work that I have seen by Ditko suggests that romance simply was not his forte.

One of the surprising aspects of issues cover in this chapter concerns the artists that do not appear. Bill Draut was a prolific artist for the romance titles but did not provide a single piece for Black Magic at this time. Mort Meskin complete absence is a little less surprising since he during the early part of this period he did not appear that much in the romance titles. However that changed during the later part of this period and so I would normally expect something by him to show up here. John Prentice also did no Black Magic work despite providing a lot of romance art. However Prentice appears to be an exception to the studio artists in that he always seemed to do much more romance work than horror. This biased use of Prentice is highlighted by the contrast provided by Bob McCarty. Prentice and McCarty were both doing a similar amount of romance art but only McCarty made an appearance in Black Magic.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Alive after Five Thousand Years”, art by Jack Kirby

As discussed in the introduction, Black Magic stories had become either splash-less or with a splash that was actually part of the story. Here Kirby has technically adhered to the second format since the next panel clearly is an advance of what is presented in the splash. However by eliminating the use of any speech balloons, the splash became more like a traditional splash. This technique was simple but rather effective that I wonder why it was not used more often.

Lately I have not been discussing the inking of Kirby’s stories because other projects that I am involved in simply do not leave me the time to adequately research inking attributions. But when I reviewed this story my initial reactions was the splash was inked by Kirby himself. However on further reflection I thought the spotting to be overly methodical. Kirby’s own inking usually has a very spontaneous nature of an artist with a clear mental image of what he is trying to create and complete mastery of the tools (in this case the inking brush) to create it.

Black Magic #27
Black Magic #27 (November 1953) “The Merry Ghosts of Campbell Castle”, art by Jack Kirby

The inking of Kirby’s pencils during the Simon and Kirby period was like a production line with different artists. Nonetheless a particular inker could impart such an effect on the art that in effect he can be called the primary inker. The best of these inkers were, in my opinion, Jack himself, Joe Simon and Mort Meskin. There were other artists who gave the inking their own unique look but frankly they were not just nearly as good. The inking of “The Merry Ghosts of Campbell Castle” is one that shows a distinct hand; only in this case a very talented one. Brush techniques characteristic of what I call the Studio Inking were used but they do not appear to be done in quite the same manner as Kirby, Simon or Meskin might have used. The picket fence crosshatching on the curtain in the splash for example does not seem to have the spontaneity of Kirby, the roughness of Simon or the tight control of Meskin. There is other brush work that seems rather unique such as the inking on the stonework in the splash. I have not made a detailed comparison but it is possible that this is the same inker that worked on “Alive after Five Thousand Years”. In any case he was a talented inker; I just wish I had some idea who he might have been.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Buried Alive”, art by Steve Ditko

The work Steve Ditko did for the Simon and Kirby was from the very start of his career. There are a few earlier pieces he did for other publishers but not many. Even so it is not hard to see his distinct hand in part of these pieces. Perhaps less so with the first page of “Buried Alive” but that page does show Steve already had a strong sense of how to graphically tell a story. The shifting view points are all very effective. Still there are aspects of his art that can be considered primitive compared to what Ditko would do in the future.

Should the first panel be called a splash? Frankly the distinction between a splash-less story and a story splash is pretty arbitrary in some cases. What is important is that the story starts right away without a tradition splash that served as a preview of the story.

Black Magic #27
Black Magic #27 (November 1953) “Don’t Call on the Dead”, art by Bob McCarty

I have remarked how similar the art of Bob McCarty and John Prentice had become in the Art of Romance serial posts. Oddly this similarity does not extend to the work McCarty did for Black Magic. It is as if McCarty is purposely adjusting his style to the genre he is working on; something he had not done in the past. Do not misunderstand me the work in the Prize romance titles and Black Magic were clearly done by the same artist but for the love titles McCarty more strongly emulates Alex Raymond (and therefore more closely resembles Prentice) and for Black Magic retains more aspects of his earlier art.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Miss Fancher’s Living Death”, art by Al Eadeh

Al Eadeh’s art appears in Black Magic later then he does in the romance titles. The last romance work by Eadeh was in Young Romance #65 (January 1954) but Al appears in Black Magic #29 (March). I will return to this question in the next chapter of the Little Shop of Horrors.

Black Magic #28
Black Magic #28 (January 1954) “Screaming Doll”, art by Bill Benulis

Ben Benulis seems to have made a very brief stop at the Simon and Kirby studio. He only did three pieces (at least during this period) and they all appeared in January 1954. His romance work was the most interesting but “Screaming Doll” is still a nice piece of work.

The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 1 (#1 – 3), Expanding Their Fields
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 2 (#4 – 6), Up and Running
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 3 (#7 – 8), The Same Old Gang
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 4 (#9 – 11), Another Hit
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 5 (#12 – 14), New Faces
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 6 (#15 – 17), Mix Bag
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 7 (#18 – 20), Kirby Returns
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 8 (#21 – 23), The Gang’s All Here
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 9 (#24 – 26), The Party’s Ovetr
The Little Shop of Horrors, Chapter 10 (#27 – 29), A Special Visitor

Art of Romance, Chapter 27, The Return of Mort

(May 1954 – July 1954: Young Romance #69 – #71, Young Love #57 – #59, Young Brides #15 – #17)

Simon and Kirby had done more than well with romance, they had done great. Their deal with Prize entitled Joe and Jack to a share in the profits. While it is true that they had to pay all the expenses that were required to produce the art, the sales of the romance titles was high enough that Simon and Kirby made a lot of money. Much more than anything else they had produced. But this was going to change and the first signs of that change started now.

Young Brides was the third title of what for all practical purposes had the same format as the other two titles. Even so the title had been selling well enough that it went on a monthly release schedule with the October 1953 issue. However sales apparently did not remain high and Young Brides returned to a bimonthly schedule with the July issue.

Number of Romance Titles 1947 - 1958
Number of Romance Titles 1947 – 1958 (the period covered in this chapter is shaded in blue)

Was schedule change for Young Brides just a sign that the Prize romance titles had reached the limit of what the market would bare? Perhaps, but it was also possible that Young Brides was just caught up in a bigger market change for comics in general. I have increased the period covered in the chart of the number of romance titles that I include in each chapter. I did this to provide a better perspective on what was occurring. June 1954 marked a local high in the number of romance titles published. There had been two previous peaks followed by recoveries but this time there would be no recovery. What was to come was actually a bit worse that the chart suggests. The chart shows a plateau of about 50 titles was reached by January 1955. However underlying that plateau was a steady decline in the number publishers doing romance comics. The chart also shows that a new plateau was reached at January 1957. But the number of romance titles at this time was inflated by Charlton’s desire to keep their presses running. For a more complete description of these events please see my post “The Real Reason for the Decline of Comics“. History had begun to catch up with Simon and Kirby.

I mentioned in my last chapter that I thought the story format may have been changing. Well I can verify that. Typically comic features started with a splash that served as a preview of the story. For the previous year Prize romance features started with a splash that was actually part of the story line, either that or no splash at all. Now the Prize romance titles return the splash to its traditional function. The format switch is not complete as some features continue to use the story splash or are splash-less.

However it is not a complete return to the earlier format. During the earlier years of Simon and Kirby romance productions at least some of the stories would have a full page splash but such large splashes remain absent as they did during the previous year. During the earlier years some features, and in particular the lead story, would have a splash where a protagonist would introduce the story and the word balloon would include the feature’s title. I call that format a soliloquy splash. The disappeared during the previous year and do not return.

In the comments to the last chapter, Bob Cosgrove pointed out that the logo for Young Love changed with issue #56 (April 1954). I totally missed that fact but Bob is correct. The new, more modern looking, logo would remain on Young Love for some time. The logos for Young Romance and Young Brides however would remain unchanged.

As I mentioned in the last chapter, this is a period where Jack Kirby does not appear in any of the Prize romance comics. I suspect that means I have lost 90% of my readers. But don’t loose heart fans, Jack will be back in the next chapter (just not in Prize romances). As I mentioned before, even though Kirby art does not appear in these romance comics that does not mean they are now longer Simon and Kirby productions. The lead story is clearly marked as such and the same artists appear. Also Joe Simon’s collection still contains some cover proofs. One of them is the cover for Young Brides #16 (June), only it is not the one eventually published there but instead was published as Young Love #57 (May). Another proof shows that the cover that was actually published as Young Brides #16 (June) was first considered for Young Brides #15 (May).

In prior chapter Kirby’s absence was taken up by John Prentice and Bob McCarty. While those artists remain important contributors to the romance titles the number one spot is taken by Mort Meskin. This is a surprising turn as Mort had been a minor player for a little over a year. However cover art was still dominated by Prentice (4 covers) and McCarty (3 covers) with Meskin and Draut only contributing a cover each. The line up for this chapter is Meskin (57 pages), McCarty (38 pages), Prentice (34 pages), unidentified artist A (34 pages), unidentified artist B (24 pages), Draut (19 pages), unidentified artist C (12 pages) and Gates (8 pages). Note the significant presence of three unidentified artist. After a period where most of the work was done by the same set of artists (Kirby, Draut, Meskin, Prentice, McCarty and Eadeh), the studio now enters a time where new faces appear. However the artists working on the Prize romance titles are still different from those used in Prize Comics Western, Headline and Justice Traps the Guilty (titles not produced by Simon and Kirby at this time).

Young Brides #15
Young Brides #15 (May 1954), art by Bob McCarty

One of the big dividends of my reviewing the all the romance titles in sequence is I now realize that some of the work that I previously attributed to John Prentice was actually done by Bob McCarty. At this point in time they have similar art styles both being heavily influenced by Alex Raymond. They generally can most easily be distinguished by their different manners of drawing eyes on men; McCarty are larger and more open and Prentice smaller and almost beady eyed. This attribution technique works well with stories but is more problematical with covers. The cover for Young Brides #15 is an example where this attribution technique is just not helpful.

Young Brides #15
Young Brides #15 (May 1954) “Dancing Doll”, art by Bob McCarty

Fortunately for the cover for Young Brides #15 is based on first story panel for “Dancing Doll” which includes pages that obviously were done by Bob McCarty. The cover and story panel are not just similar they are so close that without doubt one is based on a stat taken from the other. I believe it is the cover that was based on a stat of the splash because that was the technique used by another example that will be discussed in a future chapter. However it is not simply of using a stat because both the cover and the splash include art that does not appear on the other. This is the earliest use of stats in a Simon and Kirby production that I have found. There will be more and all cases involve the cover.

Young Romance #70
Young Romance #70 (June 1954), art by Bill Draut

I mentioned above that Bill Draut did a single cover during this period (Young Romance #70). But there is a catch in that this is another case of a cover being based on a stat of the splash of the story “Gotta Get Married”.

Bill Draut is a relatively minor player in the romance titles during this period. This may be due to the same reason as Jack Kirby’s absence as Draut played an important hand in one of the Mainline titles that will soon appear.

Young Love #58
Young Love #58 (June 1954) “Perfect Lady”, art by John Prentice

I cannot resist the artist and model theme, and apparently neither could Simon and Kirby. John would do the cover for Young Love #58 based on the “Perfect Lady” as well. For interior he uses the borderless splash that I find so effective.

Young Romance #71
Young Romance #71 (July 1954) “Beauty Loves the Beast”, art by Bob McCarty

The “Beauty Loves the Beast” provides a good example of McCarty’s art during this period. Note the larger eyes of the man in the last panel. But also observe how similar the women are to those drawn by John Prentice. They are not identical but are close enough to make distinguishing the two artists difficult.

Young Brides #15
Young Brides #15 (May 1954) “Lavender and Old Lies”, art by Bob McCarty

The first page of “Lavender and Old Lies” is not as good example of McCarty’s art as “Beauty Loves the Beast”. However I could not resist a splash with so much skin. Woman in swimsuits do appear in these romance comics from time to time but it is unusual for a man to be so prominently displayed.

Young Romance #71
Young Romance #71 (July 1954) “Forsaking All Others” page 2, art by Mort Meskin

Not surprisingly Mort Meskin does some nice work but I wanted to show the inking found in some of this work. Note the fine crosshatching on the faces in panel 3, 5 and 7. While Meskin’s inking technique includes crosshatching it usually is not so fine. I suspect that some of these stories were inked by another artist.

Young Romance #69
Young Romance #69 (May 1954) “Added Attraction”, art by unidentified artist

As I mentioned above there are some unidentified artists found during this period. Such unknown artists had appeared during previous periods but usually not so prominently. One of the unidentified artists not only tied John Prentice for third place but also did the lead story for Young Romance #69, “Added Attraction”. Whoever this artist is he has a more modern style than most of the other studio artists.

Young Romance #69
Young Romance #69 (May 1954) “I’ll Never Let You Go”, art by unidentified artist

The second unknown artist is not as talented as the one discussed above but he does have his dramatic moments. He has a manner of providing his men with unusual eyebrows. The eyebrows give his men a somewhat puzzled look.

Young Love #59
Young Love #59 (June 1954) “Little Cheat”, art by unidentified artist

The third unknown artist is no where near as talented as the other two. I might have skipped him in this post altogether except look at the splash from “Little Cheat”. The splash, and in particular the woman, look like something Kirby might do. In cases like this it is hard to be sure what is going on. Only the splash looks so Kirby-like. I believe this is a case of someone swiping Kirby and not someone working from a Kirby layout of the splash. But it is hard to be certain.

Young Brides #17
Young Brides #17 (July 1954) “Every Man for Herself”, art by Art Gates

Art Gates generally provides single page features but “Every Man for Herself” but is longer but at three pages not by much. Gates was an unusual artist in that he did both cartoon-like gag features and more realistic work.

Chapter 1, A New Genre (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 2, Early Artists (YR #1 – #4)
Chapter 3, The Field No Longer Their’s Alone (YR #5 – #8)
Chapter 4, An Explosion of Romance (YR #9 – #12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 5, New Talent (YR #9 – 12, YL #1 – #4)
Chapter 6, Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 7, More Love on the Range (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 8, Kirby on the Range? (RWR #1 – #7, WL #1 – #6)
Chapter 9, More Romance (YR #13 – #16, YL #5 – #6)
Chapter 10, The Peak of the Love Glut (YR #17 – #20, YL #7 – #8)
Chapter 11, After the Glut (YR #21 – #23, YL #9 – #10)
Chapter 12, A Smaller Studio (YR #24 – #26, YL #12 – #14)
Chapter 13, Romance Bottoms Out (YR #27 – #29, YL #15 – #17)
Chapter 14, The Third Suspect (YR #30 – #32, YL #18 – #20)
Chapter 15, The Action of Romance (YR #33 – #35, YL #21 – #23)
Chapter 16, Someone Old and Someone New (YR #36 – #38, YL #24 – #26)
Chapter 17, The Assistant (YR #39 – #41, YL #27 – #29)
Chapter 18, Meskin Takes Over (YR #42 – #44, YL #30 – #32)
Chapter 19, More Artists (YR #45 – #47, YL #33 – #35)
Chapter 20, Romance Still Matters (YR #48 – #50, YL #36 – #38, YB #1)
Chapter 21, Roussos Messes Up (YR #51 – #53, YL #39 – #41, YB #2 – 3)
Chapter 22, He’s the Man (YR #54 – #56, YL #42 – #44, YB #4)
Chapter 23, New Ways of Doing Things (YR #57 – #59, YL #45 – #47, YB #5 – #6)
Chapter 24, A New Artist (YR #60 – #62, YL #48 – #50, YB #7 – #8)
Chapter 25, More New Faces (YR #63 – #65, YLe #51 – #53, YB #9 – #11)
Chapter 26, Goodbye Jack (YR #66 – #68, YL #54 – #56, YB #12 – #14)
Chapter 27, The Return of Mort (YR #69 – #71, YL #57 – #59, YB #15 – #17)
Chapter 28, A Glut of Artists (YR #72 – #74, YL #60 – #62, YB #18 & #19, IL #1 & #2)
Chapter 29, Trouble Begins (YR #75 – #77, YL #63 – #65, YB #20 – #22, IL #3 – #5)
Chapter 30, Transition (YR #78 – #80, YL #66 – #68, YBs #23 – #25, IL #6, ILY #7)
Chapter 30, Appendix (YB #23)
Chapter 31, Kirby, Kirby and More Kirby (YR #81 – #82, YL #69 – #70, YB #26 – #27)
Chapter 32, The Kirby Beat Goes On (YR #83 – #84, YL #71 – #72, YB #28 – #29)
Chapter 33, End of an Era (YR #85 – #87, YL #73, YB #30, AFL #1)
Chapter 34, A New Prize Title (YR #88 – #91, AFL #2 – #5, PL #1 – #2)
Chapter 35, Settling In ( YR #92 – #94, AFL #6 – #8, PL #3 – #5)
Appendix, J.O. Is Joe Orlando
Chapter 36, More Kirby (YR #95 – #97, AFL #9 – #11, PL #6 – #8)
Chapter 37, Some Surprises (YR #98 – #100, AFL #12 – #14, PL #9 – #11)
Chapter 38, All Things Must End (YR #101 – #103, AFL #15 – #17, PL #12 – #14)